Hey! Here it is. I'm keeping this short and sweet. Hope you like it! Enjoy and let me know what you think, okay? Okay! Toodles!


Your Guardian Angel

"Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire" -- Kurt Tucholsky

Chapter 8

The pain stopped, but Hinata's body felt unstable, like her bones had melted. Not that she would know what that felt like, but if it had ever happened, she could imagine. Her eyelids felt heavy in her head, like lead, and it took her a moment to be able to open them. When she did the wave of panic struck. Her legs and arms, spread out at her sides, wouldn't move as they still felt like jelly. Gray stone stared back at her and an orange glare, definitely flickering fire, reflected back in her eyes. It seemed she was lying on concrete, too, and a pain was starting to radiate throughout her body, starting in her lower back. The feeling of waking up in an unfamiliar place washed over her, making her sit bolt upright despite her unstable state.

Hinata's back was to the wall. She looked from side to side, expecting the feeling to go away in a few seconds as it usually did. When it didn't, however, tears started rolling down her cheeks.

Where in the world am I? How did I get here?

A shadow in her peripheral vision shifted, causing Hinata to take a sharp intake of breath and scoot back, pushing herself against the wall with her hands. More pain shot through her limbs at the sudden movement, making her flinch; yet she kept backing up. Her slim shoulders hit first and the girl stopped, pulling her knees to her chest. Carefully she slipped one hand to the pouch around her upper thigh, silently retrieving a kunai and preparing to throw it.

"Byakugan." The whisper barely sounded in the hall and fell deaf before it reached the other person.

Hinata watched hesitantly through teary eyes, the other person's chakra channels clear in the dark hall, as the shadow stood. Once at its full height, a flame brought the features to life. The girl's immediate reaction was to toss her kunai, aiming for a direct hit to the person's head. As that was her initial reaction, she followed it. A hand flew up in less than a second, stopping the weapon dead in its tracks, just in front of his nose. Hinata shuffled back a little further, cowering away, while the figure stepped closer.

Recognition flashed across the teen girl's face, the shadow's features clicking together and making a connection in her mind as the girl remembered where she was. Without a second thought her instincts took over and she stood, forgetting her legs were currently made of jelly. Hinata's limbs gave way underneath her, sending her falling forward into Sasuke. Her arms reached around his neck and shoulders to support herself as she buried her face into his chest. Strangled sobs started to escape her lips as her shoulders heaved, her body pressed gently to the boy's while she clung to him.

Sasuke peeked out from between his fingers and watched the girl. For one, dramatic moment there was no movement and he honestly thought she had died in her sleep. But then her chest rose and fell, falling into a soft rhythm. The teen boy sat up slowly, trying not to make any sudden movements that might frighten her. However, even the slightest movement seemed to have attracted her attention anyway as she sat up quickly and started to move back.

Sasuke stood from his spot on the floor, one hand against the wall. He watched as her white eyes gleamed orange in the firelight. For a split second he could see his own reflection in her white-purple orbs before a kunai was flying at his head. By reaction his hand flew in front of his face and caught the kunai between his fingers when it was just an inch from hitting its mark. The Hyuuga girl shuffled back further, overtaken not only by fear, but by pain, too. Sasuke masked his face and took a step closer. He wasn't quite sure what he meant to do or why he was doing it. He was simply moving.

The girl's face illuminated with recognition as he came into the light and her slim figure stood from the ground, one of her hands against the wall in mimicry of his. However, as soon as she was up her legs gave way and she toppled into him, her thin arms latching around his neck.

If Sasuke was surprised, he didn't show it. His arms hung limp at his side as the girl before him sobbed into his chest. The teen boy's arms swung awkwardly at his sides, not sure what to do. Of course he had been around crying people before, but he had always scoffed and walked away, leaving someone else to comfort them (if anyone happened to come by). And on top of that, the last person who had cried around him that hadn't been killed was that Sakura-girl back in Konoha… But that annoying, good-for-nothing, pink-headed kunoichi hadn't been all over him like this girl was. That was a completely different situation, and one he never hoped happened ever again. Ever.

So what the hell was he supposed to do now?

There's a girl hanging on me, soaking my shirt with her tears and sobbing uncontrollably. What the hell is this?

What a weakling…

Remember the nightmares, Sasuke? Remember waking up crying? You always wished there had been someone there to hold you, so why not be here for this girl?

You didn't have anyone, why should you show mercy to her?

The boy listened to the contradicting voices in his head. He was a fifteen-year-old boy with a fifteen-year-old girl. She was crying. She needed someone. Sasuke raised his arms, as if to wrap them around her. The motion was awkward and hesitant. The entire time he considered simply wrapping her in a hug, he couldn't stop thinking, "What the hell, what the hell, what the hell?" Just as his arms started to close around her, his anger boiled. He was angry with himself for showing such vulnerability. He was angry with his brother for killing his family. He was angry with his family for being so weak. He was angry with Orochimaru for putting this poor excuse for a kunoichi into his care. And he was angry with this girl for showing up and invading his life. It just wasn't fair that someone who hadn't even spoken could make him feel so confused. Sasuke was furious and sentimental and irritated and vulnerable all at the same time. It was the worst thing in the world, yet he couldn't help finding comfot in the fact that this girl was the source. But the simple fact made him even more irate with her, which simply created more confusion.

What it basically came down to was this: he was upset for being happy that the Hyuuga girl, and not some outside source, was the root of all this confusion.

In his frustration Sasuke pushed the girl away, forcing her into the wall. He balled his fists at his sides and looked down, around, watching the fire and the still walls, anywhere but at the girl's crumpled form at his feet. Her shoulders still shook with sobs as she slumped against the wall.

Hinata clung to his frame, crying against his chest. It was someone familiar in the dark world she had gotten herself into, even if he was part of the darkness that surrounded. She was so confused. She was supposed to despise this boy supporting her. He was the scorn of the village, the reason the village was in the state it was. He was the reason Naruto was so preoccupied all the time. Too preoccupied to… The thought of the blonde ninja broke down Hinata's walls and made her hold on harder. She couldn't stop the tears from falling even if she tried.

After an enternity of clinging, Hinata felt Sasuke's arms lift in the beginning motions of a hug. This action, of course, only brought on confusion. She hated him so much. Yet in her vulnerability, she couldn't help but wish he would hold her back. All she needed was some comfort. Was that too much to ask in her fragile state? Apparently, from this boy, it was.

Instead of holding her, Sasuke's palms connected with Hinata's shoulders and pushed her off of him. The girl's hands untangled from behind his neck and she crumpled backwards against the wall, her shoulder blades hitting first as her body slid down the wall to the floor. What was she? She was so weak; she couldn't even bring her hands up to bury her face in. A mane of indigo hair fell in front of Hinata's pale face as her head slumped forward, her chin connecting with her chest. A shadow, cast by the flaming torches on the walls, fell over her as Sasuke stepped forward, towering from above. He bent down and latched his fingers around her thin wrist roughly, yanking the girl to her feet by her arm and dragging her down the hall. Hinata winced in pain. Sasuke pulled her arm so tightly she felt that it might come out of its socket. At the very least there would be a bruise on her wrist in the morning. She tripped over her own feet, her legs still like jelly, as more tears stained her cheeks. She heard a knob turn, a lock unlatch, and she was being thrown again. The girl toppled into a room, one she assumed must have been hers, and fell down to floor again.

Sitting with her legs to the side, as if she were in a skirt, her hands rested on the floor. Her hair was strewn in front of her blood-shot eyes. With some effort Hinata looked sadly through her curtain of midnight-blue hair at the boy standing in her doorway. His body was framed in firelight, a black sillouhette against the gray walls. His onyx eyes stared at her for a split second before the door slammed, plunging her into darkness. Hinata felt her way across the dusty floor, spreading her arms in front of her to the bed where she crawled up and buried her head in the pillow.

Back in Konoha she had a soft bed. She had big, fluffy pillows. She had piles and piles of blankets. She had a clean shower and a painted room with all her possessions. She had her family and friends. But it wasn't home.

Here she had a hard bed on a stone platform. She had one, flat pillow. She had a single white sheet that didn't even cover her toes. She had a stone shower and a stone room with stone hallways and firelight. She had three of the most wanted men in all of the hidden villages.

It wasn't home, either.

So where was she supposed to run to when when all she had were places to run from?

That night, Hinata fell asleep to the sounds of her own sobs, one final thought running through her head.

She had needed them, and they let her down. She didn't need them any longer. She hated them.

She had needed him, and he pushed her away. She wouldn't hope for his help any more. She hated him.

Sasuke threw the Hyuuga girl in her room. She looked up at him from her crumpled form on the floor, her big, white eyes full of longing and fear. And he had slammed the door and turned away.

The boy lay on his own bed, looking up at the ceiling, at nothing, with his empty, onyx eyes. She was nothing to him. She fell so easily. What a weakling, to let a silly nightmare devour her like that. It was ridiculous for him to have considered comforting her. What had she done to deserve his kindness?

Nothing, that was what. She hadn't done a single thing.

How could he have been so stupid to think that she was strong at all? Sure, she might have gotten lucky in their little spar, but he had been holding back. And that's all it was; sheer luck. She wouldn't beat him again. Not ever. She would be dead before the training had been going on for a week. Not because he did it intentionally, but because she failed. She would try to win, and she would fail. End of story. Case closed.

Sasuke closed his eyes and curled over on his side, ready for sleep. One final thought ran through his head.

They had all held him back. He could reach his potential without them there. He hated them.

She was holding him back. He could reach his potential without her there. He hated her.